Namibia: More Uranium Found
NAMIBIA appears to have a radiant future in the mining sector with over 20 mining outfits doing uranium prospecting and exploration, mainly in the Erongo Region, and an Australian company announcing that it has found a promising deposit of the mineral north of the existing Roessing uranium mine.
West Australian Metals (WME) on Thursday announced it had discovered rich deposits of the mineral at its Marenica Project in Erongo.
“Sampling has revealed widespread, near surface mineralisation and identified possible extensions outside the main prospected area,” the company said in a statement.
Company officials said the Marenica uranium project has confirmed mineralisation in excess of 100 metres in width, but lower in grade than Roessing.
WME said it has pumped in US$1,9 million into exploration.
The firm did not indicate when it would move to commercially exploit the uranium deposits.
“The company is most encouraged by these latest results which follow the widespread areas of significant uranium mineralisation reported from phase one of our trench and pit sampling programme,” said its technical director, Leon Reisgys.
WME’s positive findings also confirm Namibia as the Australian investors’ new uranium frontier.
Another Australian firm, Paladin Resources, commissioned its US$92 million Langer Heinrich Uranium mine on December 28, 2006.
Australia controls a quarter of world uranium production.
Uranium industry experts estimate global demand for the mineral to double in the next 25 years.
This is fuelled by China’s ambitious plan to increase nuclear energy capacity five-fold to 40 gigawatt by 2020, equalling Russia nuclear plans for 2030, and twice as large as India’s ambitions.
Japan intends to add 11 more nuclear power plants by 2010 and China 24 by 2020.
The demand has seen uranium prices doubling last year – and increasing sixfold in the last five years – at US$72 per pound.
Namibia has eight known uranium deposits – most in the Erongo Region – and produces approximately seven per cent of the world market needs.
Two uranium mines, Roessing Uranium mine and Langer Heinrich Uranium, are currently operational.
During the past six months the Namibian Government has awarded 15 uranium exploration licences while six more companies hope to prospect for uranium.
According to the organisation Wise-Uranium they are Extract Resources, Kalahari Minerals, West Africa Gold Exploration, Forsys Metals Corporation, Westport Resources, Galahad Gold, UraMin, Namura Mineral Resources, Xemplar Energy, Australian United Gold, Bannerman Resources, Cheetah Minerals Exploitation, Corporate Resources Consultant, Etruscants Resources Namibia, the Chinese company Nam-China Minerals & Development, Namibia Mineral Mining Plants & Products, New Mining Company, Philco Twenty, Reptile Investment Four, Jaco Floris Smith and Nova Energy.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), 442 nuclear power reactors operate worldwide in 30 countries, including South Africa.
These reactors supply about 16 per cent of the world’s electricity.
This percentage has been roughly stable since 1986.
To date, the use of nuclear power has been concentrated in industrialised countries.
In terms of new construction, however, the pattern is different.
Of the 29 new reactors under construction, 16 are in developing countries.
South Africa has plans to increase its nuclear power-generating capacity and Algeria, Egypt and Nigeria have been expressing interest in nuclear power for electricity production and the desalination of seawater.
The Namibian Government has joined the fray by investigating the possibility of building its own nuclear power plant.
Meanwhile, Africa’s first conference on nuclear energy’s contribution to sustainable development last week declared that the continent should not be restricted in the use of peaceful nuclear technology.
Ministers and officials from 45 countries pledged in a joint statement to promote the safe and accountable use of nuclear energy in Africa.
The two-day meeting was held in Algiers, Algeria, and delegates discussed Africa’s need for electricity from nuclear power stations and discussed how nuÂclear radiation research may help advance health care, agriculture, industry and the environment.
Africa has no nuclear weapons.
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